Alfie was nominated for a Royal Television Society award at university for his final year fiction film, and has since had an eclectic career. As a Development Executive he was heavily involved in writing 'Vivling' - a biopic of actress Vivien Leigh, which was awarded a place on the the 2014 Brit List. Since then Alfie has been working as a Freelance Director for the likes of AirBnB, the NHS and Reprieve commercially. His most substantial work of fiction is 'Purple Heather’, a half hour period drama about the Romani Gypsy community in the New Forest in 1926, which is currently being submitted to festivals.
Kirsty is an accomplished Broadcast Journalist and Producer. Following her work as an on-screen reporter at Scottish Television she has worked on TV and online content for PA and a number of Global brands including Disney, Virgin, Coca-Cola, Comic Relief and NSPCC. A video she produced for the Eureka! Children’s Museum has been nominated for an international museums award.
Jim is a highly skilled Director of Photography with more than 10 years experience. Jim’s credits include BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and many other national and international broadcasters as well as commercial and promo work.
In the next 3 years I aim to start developing a feature project, that is similar in spirit and sensibility to MBIAM. I think there’s an urgent need for indie family films, that explore contemporary gender issues in an accessible way that appeals to and is appropriate for both adults and children. Films that are hard-hitting, truthful, and empathy-expanding, whilst also being fun, imaginative and warm. This is my testing ground for such a film. This is where I make the pitch for this approach.
My prioirity with MBIAM is that it's focussed on the most human and primal elements of film… the actors and the script. I want to hone in on the emotional detail of the characters and story, to create a film that's rich in emotional nuance and delicacy, vividly imaginative, and designed to explore the beat by beat development of intertwining human experiences.
The heart of this story is in the siblings’ love for one another, and particularly the unquestioning adoration and revering of a younger sibling for an older one. As Shorai begins a journey that will completely change the way the rest of the world see’s her, her younger brother is a rock of emotional certainty; Kuda will still be just as annoying, cute and unconditionally loving whatever happens. I think the sibling dynamic here will be really familiar to the audience, children and adults alike - the meanness, the surprising kindness, the frustration, the no sense of boundary, and the fierce defensiveness that goes on between siblings is all explored here. I hope that this will be the emotional underpinning of the story that really connects the audience to the characters.
The film is largely about gender fluidity, and particularly the transition of a teenage boy to a girl. I think that the view a child has on gender, before they reach an age where gender roles become an embedded lens through which the world is seen, is a fascinating angle to explore. Kuda is innocent, objective and indifference to gender. He doesn’t bat an eyelid about Shorai’s preferred pronouns, or clothing choice because really that’s not what’s interesting about Shorai… Shorai is a frickin’ mermaid! He’s amazing! It’s so obvious yet wise. But the rest of the world doesn’t see this. All the rest of the world cares about is that Shorai identify with the gender she was assigned at birth and behave as expected. What an odd concern to have. My priority in exploring transgender issues is sensitivity to the transgender young people who might be watching. I am already in touch with a several transgender support groups, who will help guide me as I develop the script. This will ensure that the film addresses the issues that are important, in a way that will be educational and supportive as well as truthful and honest. One of the ways this has been realised in the current draft of the script, is by making a plot point of the importance of respecting the preferred pronouns and name of a transgender person.
My primary focus will be on the casting and performances. As such we have extensive plans for casting to ensure we see a huge number of potential lead characters. Having worked with children on my last short I wish to build off the Directorial techniques I developed there, which involved improvisation through rehearsals, as well as a lot of spontaneous filming on set to capture real moments of emotion and magic. Particularly with the younger character (Kuda) there will be a great deal of story telling and imagination stimulating to evoke the wonder and awe the character experiences. With Shorai we hope to cast a teenager who is currently or has recently transitioned from male to female, and encourage them to be themselves as much as possible in the part.
The visual and audio elements will aim to merge a gritty realism with a dream-like imaginative quality. Much of the film is from Kuda’s point of view, so we want his sparkly interpretation of the world in the foreground. The camera will be handheld, and largely shot from Kuda’s eyeline, reactive to his performance and movements. I want to contrast a 16mm film stock looking backdrop (grainy, milky, slightly under-exposed,) with a quirky and vibrant set of pastel colours in the foreground, bringing life to the things that are closer to Kuda. Similarly with the sound, a mix of simple diagetic sounds, subtly merging with a classical score and perhaps acapella voices, interweaving Kuda’s subjectivity with the harsher reality.